President-elect Joe Biden is expected to nominate Michael Regan to lead the EPA, putting a North Carolina environmental regulator in line to chart national policy on combating climate change and pollution, according to people familiar with the matter.

If confirmed as EPA administrator, Regan would take the helm of an agency he worked in for nearly a decade.

Regan also would be able to draw on a long history focused on regulating air pollution and combating climate change -- experience central to some of Biden’s top environmental policies. The next EPA chief is expected to develop new regulations throttling greenhouse gas emissions that drive global warming while reversing some of Current Administration’s moves that undercut limits on pollution.

Since January 2017, Regan has focused on similar issues as the secretary of North Carolina’s Department of Environmental Quality. For roughly eight years before that, he helped drive the Environmental Defense Fund’s work on climate change and air quality and briefly led his own firm.

In North Carolina, Regan has guided initiatives to combat environmental inequities and climate change, and he’s been at the center of disputes over new gas pipelines and pollution cleanup that are playing out nationwide.

In 2018, he established an environmental justice and equity board to elevate the voices of the underserved, challenging the group to “work for inclusion, demand equity and celebrate the diversity” of North Carolina residents.

Among many accomplishments, Regan negotiated with Duke Energy Corp. over its coal ash cleanup efforts, having ordered excavation of the utility’s unlined storage pits in 2019. And in August, Regan’s Department of Environmental Quality issued an order requiring the Chemours Co. to take steps to prevent contamination of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances -- the so-called “forever chemicals” -- from a facility in Fayetteville.

(Bloomberg Law, 12/17/20)

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